Since Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership election by a landside in September, the Labour Party has been considered to be revitalised by the ‘new kind of politics’ Corbyn has promised. His honest and straight-talking speeches have appealed to the supporters of the party who have longed for a change where spin in politics is no longer needed, just sound policies. Yet, when compared to past Labour leaders, this change has come with a much more left-wing ideology that the Leader of the Opposition possesses. As a result, there has been a great deal of attacks from the right-wing press and suggestions that this seemingly feeble ‘new kind of politics’ may not come to great effect.
There has been an optimistic sense that there is now a greater chance of Labour success on the horizon – after the failed elections experienced with Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband – with such a diverse character at the helm of the Party. David Cameron’s £10m private plane compared to Corbyn’s preference to travel around London on a bicycle has influenced many people’s perception of UK politics. For Labour supporters, here is a man who can understand the troubles of the working-class in Britain, who has not been particularly highly educated, and who has shown he takes the voters’ queries seriously and sees them as debatable issues, having presented, in PMQs, the emails sent to him by the public.
However, Corbyn’s pacifist principles that the Labour Party has adopted can be seen to falter in the real-life politics of the current day. As of yet, this has been mostly evident on the matter of air strikes in Syria. As the 10-hour debate and subsequent vote led the UK to deploy air strikes in Syria, Corbyn’s challenge to find a more peaceful solution to dealing with ISIS had been dismissed. Key to this result was the number of MPs in the Labour Party itself, who disagreed with their new leader. The open letter Corbyn sent to his MPs beforehand, underlining his firm stance for there to be no military action, caused a revolt from a majority within the Party. Other MPs, such as Tim Farron, the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, also joined Cameron in his decision to commit air strikes onto Syria, yet only with the presupposition that there will be an opportunity to rebuild government in Syria.
Corbyn had his opportunities to attack the Prime Minister’s policies in terms of Syria, but these were met with Conservative answers with which the people of the UK simply could not disagree. The Autumn Spending Review proved this as well; a U-turn on tax credit cuts and no cuts to the police budget and thus no backlash from the public. Looking at it this way – maybe it’s not the left-wing, pacifist, ‘new kind of politics’ that is failing, but it’s just that the Conservatives had already put themselves in an economically and politically sound position by the time Corbyn won the Labour Party leadership election.